Peace that Passes Understanding

I’ve talked before about how Scott was born premature.  I’ve shared little bits and pieces of how I’d spent 10 days in the hospital prior to his emergency c-section, and how my blood pressure finally got too high on a day when the ultrasound results showed Scott in serious distress, and the doctor – who had been waiting for either one of us to start failing before he would take action – realized that both of his patients were critical and he needed to move NOW.

But I don’t know if I’ve ever told you about my feelings at the time.

Apparently, I don’t have symptoms of high blood pressure.  No headache, no spots in front of my eyes (except when I shower), no nothing that would indicate a critical bp. One Saturday night, when Gregg was packing to go to a military school, I started having contractions.  I was just over 28 weeks pregnant and on full bed rest.  I tried to ignore them, because he should have left that afternoon and by now it was 10PM and he still hadn’t left, and I knew if I told him I was having contractions, he would take me to the hospital.  I was trying to get him out the door then I would drive myself.  However, they picked up intensity until I finally had to say something.  Gregg, of course, quit packing and rushed me to the hospital.

The first thing they did was put a contraction monitor thingie on me, which showed the intense contractions every 2-3 minutes.  While that was recording, they took my information (I had not pre-registered yet), chatted with me about how I was feeling, and then put the blood pressure cuff on my arm.  The VERY SECOND she strapped on the cuff, my contractions completely went away.

My blood pressure was 170/120.

I know that God knows that I would have ignored a headache or spots in front of my eyes because at that time in my life, I didn’t even know what that number right there meant.  But already having had a child, I couldn’t ignore contractions, and He in His ultimate wisdom got me to the hospital.

Gregg could not stay.  He had to be 350 miles away by 8AM.  They admitted me.  I felt nothing but peace.

My good friend, and our pastor’s wife, stayed with me.  She spent that entire Sunday, and every day after work (she was a bank manager) in my hospital room.  We watched the Sci-Fi channel (you can’t beat uninterrupted Doctor Who or Firefly marathons) or the jewelry channel (I never even knew such a channel existed) and chit chatted about the Dean Koontz novel she insisted I read.  And through it all, I felt nothing but peace.

Ten days later, on a Monday afternoon, the doctor came into my room.  He told me all of my blood and urine work looked good.  He said that the insurance company was trying to get the hospital to send me home, and that he had collaborated with a colleague to get a second opinion, which would buy us a few more weeks.  He didn’t feel like I could go home, because he said that once one of us started failing, there would be very little time to react.  He then said that he was going to go to the nurses station and pull up the results from the ultrasound I’d had that morning and would see me tomorrow.

Not five minutes later, I heard the pounding of his footsteps as he ran back to my room.  Out of breath, he asked me how quickly Gregg could get here.  When the doctor called him from my cell phone, the answer was, “Let’s see.”  (We won’t discuss that it took less than 4 hours to drive the 350 miles.)

About that time, my blood pressure started to spike.  Alarms were going off everywhere, my friend arrived for her evening vigil and was pulled aside and fed information, and my nurses came into my room with tears in their eyes.  I guess I was in pretty bad shape.

And yet, all I felt was total peace.

They couldn’t wait for Gregg, though the doctor waited as long as he could.  I was scary sick, Scott was scary sick, and they said they’d lose one of us if they didn’t act now.  I told them to do what they needed to do.

As they wheeled my bed from my room to Labor & Delivery, we passed a waiting room.  I looked over and saw 15 of my friends and church family on their knees holding a prayer vigil for me.

I already felt at peace, but the sight of that flooded me with such serene calm.

When Scott was born that night, he let out a loud cry.  I told my friend, who sat at my head in my husband’s place, that it sounded like a healthy cry and convinced her that everything was going to be fine.

And everything was fine.  Perfectly fine.  Four weeks of NICU, Pedicatric ICU, doctors and specialists, therapists and nurses.  Four weeks of living at the hospital, pumping every 3 hours, holding my tiny 3-pound son around the wires and the tubes that any NICU parent knows about — and here we are four years later and everything is perfectly fine.

There should be a dozen things wrong with Scott.  He should have ADD, autism, deafness, blindness, speech troubles, learning disabilities, asthma.  He should not be this perfect, brilliant, healthy little boy who thrives.

This week, I took him for his pediatric opthamology appointment.  We have to go every year, because 78 percent of preemies born have eye trouble.  They told me, as they tell me every year, that his eyes are perfect and his vision is perfect and that the retinas look perfect.

This never surprises me.  From the first day, the doctors and nurses were surprised every time he made a step forward.  They warned us it would be “two steps forward, one step back” in the NICU, and Scott never stepped back.  He had been home with us for 6 weeks on his due date, and didn’t even yet weigh 5 pounds.

God gave me the peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7).  It was a beautiful gift that He gave me.  I don’t know how much of my experience would have changed without it, but I have a feeling that the change would be drastic.

Today Scott celebrates his 4th birthday.  He sees with perfect eyes, he hears so well that he has to cover his ears when things are too loud, he breathes in air with perfect lungs, and his brain astounds me.  I never doubted for a second that his health would be anything less.

Happy birthday, my oldest son.  I pray that God brings you wonderful blessings in this coming year.  You are a blessing to us, and I hope that you always know that and never doubt it for a minute.

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